Where to Catch Local Music in Buffalo, NY


One of the saddest misconceptions is that local bands suck. However, when taken logically, it's clear that such a notion can in no way be factual. Close your eyes and picture a national performer or band that you love, and then remember that they once exclusively played within their local scene. So it's really a matter of finding the best local sounds.

Buffalo has had its share of outstanding local acts over the years and numerous duds as well. And the venues to hear them are constantly changing. Here is a list of some of the best current spots to have a drink or two while sampling Buffalo's latest sounds.

Buffalo Iron Works
Located in downtown Buffalo a few blocks from the hockey arena, this bar and grille is a great venue for local artists and lesser-known traveling acts. The Iron Works is a favorite of musicians because of its stellar sound system and helpful, professional crew. Spectators will appreciate the roomy setup (which does fill up quickly for popular shows) and will enjoy great visibility from almost anywhere.

Tralf Music Hall
The Tralf is located in Buffalo's Theatre District and replaces Buffalo's typical bar/music atmosphere with a theatrical stage and seating. And yes, the Tralf hosts its share of larger shows that require reserved seating, pre-order tickets and sometimes (*gasp*) collared shirts and jackets. But there are also general admission shows which are a bit more laid back and the seating is first come, first served. Both types of show are relatively inexpensive and some of the general admission shows don't even charge a cover, so you'll have more cash to throw around at the Tralf's multiple bars.

The Colored Musicians Club of Buffalo
How about some jazz? Since 1935, The Colored Musicians Club was the place to go in Buffalo and still is to this day. Dizzy, Ella, Duke and Billie all played there in their heydays and great acts still frequent the club most days of the week. Like any club, you can become a member, but jazz loving non-members are always welcome. On Saturdays the club offers music lessons and on Sunday nights they hold open jam sessions, where local jazz musicians old and young are encouraged to play freely, either alone or in groups.

Nietzsche's
For over 30 years, Nietzsche's has done live music. Located in Allentown, this bar has been a stationary variety show, bringing in and promoting all types of music, not to mention stand-up/sketch comedy, burlesque, local charity benefits and private parties. The premiere focus has always been music and there's a show at Nietzsche's almost every night. It may not look like much from the outside (aside from a large Friedrich Nietzsche mural on the building's side, which is dope), but inside the atmosphere is second to none. And since they're always playing music, it won't be too long before you hear something you simply can't live without.

Gregory Austin, when not freelancing or being voice-over artsy, enjoys taking in local music. He particularly enjoys bands featuring both male and female vocals for no other reason than that it pleases his ear. He's also on Twitter and Tumblr.